Friday, January 02, 2009

Will GOP Obstructionism Backfire Against Republican Extremists in 2010?


DeMint & Coburn- two of the ugly faces of GOP obstructionism

With the nation in countdown mode for the end of the much reviled Bush Regime, much energy is being expended-- particularly by regime operatives who, like Karl Rove could face criminal charges-- in bringing Bush's approval ratings up to at least where Nixon's were when he left the White House in disgrace. They seem hysterical to make sure there boss doesn't leave office as the most hated president ever-- for the record books.

Congress, Rove and other Bush Regime operatives, always love to point out, is far more hated by the public than Bush. And they have a point; it's true. As contemptible as Bush and his regime are, Congress, the people's house who should have been protecting the people's interests, has failed utterly and have been held in even lower regard than Bush. That argument, however, only goes so far for the Republicans. As Gallup showed last month, congressional Democrats are significantly more esteemed than Bush-- and significantly more esteemed than their Republican colleagues in Congress. According to the latest Gallup Poll, 67% of Americans disapprove of Bush, while 69% disapprove of Republicans in the House and Senate and only 55% disapprove of Democrats in the House and Senate. (Many who disapprove of Democrats in Congress feel that they have been too cooperative-- even to the point of conspiracy-- with Bush and the repulsive racist Republicans.)

This is the lowest rating for Republicans on Congress since 1999 when Gallup started tracking approval ratings for congressional parties. This is especially bad news for Republicans up for re-election in 2010 who have committed themselves to a course of obstructionism against Obama's program. Take Jim Bunning of Kentucky for example. He is widely viewed as being far too senile even for the Senate and his approval ratings are even lower than Mitch McConnell, who had a tough time winning re-election against the worst pseudo-Democrat that party fielded in any state in 2008. In the most recent SUSA poll, Bunning's approval rating is a mere 40%, a crystal clear predictor of electoral defeat. On top of that, he has been one of the loudest and most vicious anti-Obama voices in the Senate. And Bunning isn't alone among the GOP Senate obstructionists who will have to face voters in 2010. Although Mel Martinez (FL) has wisely bowed out of a re-election bid and vulnerable Republicans Lisa Murkowski (AK), Arlen Specter (PA), Chuck Grassley (IA), John McCain (AZ), and George Voinovich (OH) have signaled that they will be willing to cooperate with Obama on some of his priorities, far right extremists who could overplay their hands and meet with angry voters in 2010 include Jim DeMint (SC- radical leader of the worst of the obstructionists), Judd Gregg (NH), Richard Burr (NC), Tom Coburn (OK), David Diapers Vitter (LA), Kit Bond (MO), Johnny Isakson (GA), and John Thune (SD).

And they're just getting warmed up

Much of the filibustering and most blatant obstructionism will, of course, be led by Republicans in the really backward states dominated by Know Nothings (like South Carolina, Idaho and Utah, where incumbents have little to fear) and by right-wing senators not facing re-election in 2010 like Miss McConnell (KY), James Inhofe (OK), Saxby Chambliss (GA) and John Cornyn (TX). Just today, in fact, Cornyn was braying about how he would lead a desperate fillibuster against seating Minnesota's newly elected Senator Al Franken. And clueless rightists point to Obama's painfully middle of the road leadership team as being too far to the left. Not content, for example, that Obama sold out environmentalism by appointing craven corporate patsy Ken Salazar to head the Interior Department, Republicans are whining that Obama's team has pro-environmentalists on it.
John Leshy, a longtime solicitor in Clinton's Interior Department, angered mining company executives in the 1990s with his push for more regulations of mining operations and strict interpretations of mining law. He is now on the transition team advising Obama on Interior.

A similar, if not identical, story is building in the House, where a gaggle of extreme right wing Republicans came perilously close to being defeated in November. California alone has 5 viciously anti-Obama extremists who failed to reach 55% in their 2006 re-election bids: Dan Lungren (50%), Brian Bilbray (50%), Ken Calvert (52%), David Dreier (53%), and Dana Rohrbacher (53%). Other Republicans who barely won election and who are expected to make spectacles of themselves in fighting against Obama's reforms include:

Mean Jean Schmidt (OH-02)- 45%
Michele Bachmann (MN-06)- 46%
Erick Paulsen (MN-03)- 48%
Bill Cassidy (LA-06)- 48%
Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-09)-50%)
Thaddeus McCotter (MI-11)- 51%
Henry Brown (SC-01)- 52%
Dean Heller (NV-02)- 52%
Lee Terry (NE-02)- 52%
Steven Guthrie (KY-02)- 53%
Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25)- 53%
Cynthia Lummis (WY-AL)- 53%
Pete Olson (TX-22)- 53%
Bill Posey (FL-15)- 53%
Michael McCaul (TX-10)- 54%
John Shadegg (AZ-03)- 54%
Addison Wilson (SC-02)- 54%

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At 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you really think Mean Jean will try to obstruct? She's played both sides of the fences, before, at least when she wasn't opening her mouth to insert both feet. Her record is actually less conservative than some of the Blue Dogs in the House--not that this is saying much, but still: she bends with the wind. Given that it's a pretty strong wind at the moment, I'm thinking she'll give on many issues where the Republican leadership (and there's an oxymoron if one ever existed) doesn't force her hand.


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